Naxals reject Centre's talks offer

Naxals reject Centre's talks offer

Home Minister P Chidambaram talks to mediapersons outside his office in New Delhi on Tuesday. PTI

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram told a private TV channel that the government would welcomes peace talks, as long as the insurgents halt attacks.

“I make the offer now: The Maoists should say, “We abjure violence, we suspend violence,” and actually suspend violence, from any date they fix for 72 hours,” he said in an interview. The government would then convene talks with the insurgents, he said.
However the offer was dismissed by Naxal leader Ramanna who said in Bastar district in Chattisgarh, “we cannot give up our weapons”.

He said though Naxals had responded to the Home Minister’s earlier talks, the government “did not believe us. There is a heavy presence of security forces and their atrocities are continuing every day”, he said.

Ramanna said the attack on the civilian bus in Dantewada district on Monday, in which 35 passengers including SPOs were killed, was aimed at Special Police Officers who were travelling on it. 

“The administration used civilians as human shields, so they got killed. But I regret this”, he said.

Chidambaram said CPI (Maoist) never responded “seriously” to the offer of talks. “They are indulging in gimmickery; I am afraid media plays up that gimmick,” he said.
He said complete suspension means there should not be any attack on infrastructure, any landmine blast or any targeting of telephone towers.

The Home Minister as well as Home Secretary G K Pillai held a series of meeting with officials of paramilitary forces involving in anti-insurgency operation to prepare an anti-Maoist strategy.

Earlier in the day, the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party said the time had come for some concrete action and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to spell out if his government favoured a soft or hard line against Maoist guerrillas.

BJP leader and Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitely accused UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and other top Congress leaders of adopting a “soft line” towards Naxals and warned that giving a “limited mandate” to Home Minister in the fight against the menace was akin to waging a losing battle.

However Chidambaram reacted to the BJP comments saying that all political parties should maintain bipartisan spirit and approach while dealing with left wing extremists’ challenge to the country’s security.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) said in a statement: “The attack on the private passenger bus by the Maoists only highlights their bankrupt policies of attacking ordinary citizens in various parts of the country including tribals who refuse to accept their dictates.”

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